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Volunteer Travel – Responsible Voluntourism

Questions You Need to Ask Before Volunteering Abroad

Posted by on 5:41 pm in Blog, Travel Tips, Volunteer Travel | 22 comments

Questions You Need to Ask Before Volunteering Abroad

Volunteering abroad is an exciting opportunity, but it can be nerve-wracking if it’s your first time. Managing your expectations is important in order to get the most out of the trip, and to do that you need to ask the right questions.

But beyond your own personal expectations, it’s also important that you have the right information to choose a project which makes a genuine difference to the community and society as a whole.

Any good volunteer organisation should be happy to answer anything you want to know, so don’t be shy about asking. And if the answers you’re getting back are evasive or not fully transparent, you may need to consider a new project.

We chatted with volunteer sending organisation Original Volunteers for insight into some of the most important questions you should ask before volunteering abroad.

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5 Ways to Make Travel Look Good on Your Resume

Posted by on 8:07 pm in Blog, Student Travel, Travel Tips, Volunteer Travel | 28 comments

5 Ways to Make Travel Look Good on Your Resume

With fierce competition for the same jobs these days, it’s very easy to get swept up in the mindset of “I’ll travel later”, not wanting to leave a gap in your resume.

It’s long been thought that a large gap in your resume will mean being treated unfavorably by a prospective employer – especially if your explanation for the gap is “I was traveling the world”.

Though here’s some news – travel may actually boost your employability. As long as you can explain the benefits of your travel experience to a potential employer it could actually help your resume stand out, and improve your chances of being shortlisted for an interview.

But travel isn’t as novel as it used to be, so how can you properly market your time abroad to make your skills and experiences look good?

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How to Be an Ethical Volunteer

Posted by on 11:32 pm in Blog, Travel Tips, Volunteer Travel | 23 comments

How to Be an Ethical Volunteer

A quick Google search (or scanning of JK Rowling’s Twitter account) makes it clear that ethical volunteer tourism is a hot topic in today’s travel climate—and for good reason.

It’s important that we, as individuals who want to spend our time and resources in international service, are doing so in a way that is effective, productive, and sustainable. After all, no one “wants to become that volunteer who has just built a bridge where no bridge was needed.” —Lonely Planet.

So, should we write off all volunteer tourism as the wrong way to spend your vacation or extended periods living abroad?

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Take on a Role with Street Child and Visit a Country as More Than Just a Tourist!

Posted by on 11:50 pm in Adventure Travel, Blog, Nepal, Volunteer Travel | 24 comments

Take on a Role with Street Child and Visit a Country as More Than Just a Tourist!

Kathmandu is a myriad of experiences: it’s dusty and beautiful, chaotic and serene, all at once. But one thing is definite: you’ll never discover all of it if you head here as just a tourist.

Come as an international volunteer, however, and you’ll get to discover the city’s secrets, learn its culture, and experience something so much more than a holiday.

Hannah, from Perth, Australia, is two months into a three-month research volunteer opportunity with UK-based charity Street Child, and she can’t believe how quickly her time in Nepal’s capital city has flown by.

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Top Volunteer Projects in Guatemala

Posted by on 12:27 pm in Blog, Guatemala PAGE NEEDED, Volunteer Travel | 22 comments

Top Volunteer Projects in Guatemala

Guatemala is a hidden gem among tourists, and a perfect destination for those interested in an authentic cultural immersion experience. While gaping at the expansive landscapes, exploring volcanoes, and becoming entranced by the colorful artisan crafts of the Mayans, volunteering in Guatemala has become another point of interest for those seeking a more fulfilling travel experience.

It is no secret that Guatemala’s government struggles to provide adequate resources to their citizens. Being the biggest country in Central America, with the largest economy, it’s baffling to realize that over half of the people live in poverty. While the tourist industry booms, the common people suffer.

So if you are looking to volunteer abroad, Guatemala is a great place to start. There are projects for every type of personality, skill, and interest, so knowing your options is a great starting point. Check out these top volunteer projects in Guatemala, and make your next trip a reason to get involved.

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The Great and Not-so-great of Work Exchanges and Voluntourism

Posted by on 9:33 pm in Blog, Nepal, Volunteer Travel, Writers | 48 comments

The Great and Not-so-great of Work Exchanges and Voluntourism

You wake up to the sound of birdsong outside your little stone hut, a fresh mountain breeze entering the space through the hand carved, traditional wooden vents that pepper the gorgeously textured natural walls. You wriggle out of your snug sleeping bag and step outside to be greeted by the Himalayan mountain range – the tallest peaks in the world rising resplendently from the green valleys far below you. Their flanks glisten in the gently filtered rays of another perfect sunrise. You say to yourself, today I’m gonna help some people, and it’ll be a good day.

This is life when volunteering, in particular, a work exchange in Nepal; but a similar scenario is attainable anywhere in the world. Replace the Himalayas with the Pacific Ocean; or replace your stone hut with a tent in a lush European forest, or a treehouse in the jungles of Costa Rica.

‘Voluntourism’ is a rather critical term thrown around a lot these days, but in my opinion it can be a wonderful, ethical, and sustainable way to travel, so long as you properly screen the families or local/international organisations with which you plan to work.

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Countries To Consider For a Volunteer Placement This Year

Posted by on 11:24 pm in Blog, Ecuador, Travel Tips, Volunteer Travel | 34 comments

Countries To Consider For a Volunteer Placement This Year

Combining volunteerism with travel is one of our favorite ways to explore the globe, though it’s absolutely vital to choose a project which makes a genuine difference to the community and society as a whole.

And while every country needs volunteers equally, there are a number of countries that are notoriously resource strapped, and often overlooked by international volunteers who opt for more popular destinations when choosing their placements.

As such, the following are countries we recommend considering for a volunteer placement in 2016. These choices may mean branching out to a perhaps previously unthought-of destination, though each offers the opportunity to affect real change and impact local lives where help is desperately needed.

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Tips For First Time International Volunteers – Everything You Need to Know Before You Go

Posted by on 9:52 pm in Blog, Travel Tips, Volunteer Travel | 26 comments

Tips For First Time International Volunteers – Everything You Need to Know Before You Go

When you’re planning your first trip abroad as an international volunteer, there are many considerations to think about beyond making a list of what you should pack. For instance, is the program an ethical one? How much will it cost? What is that money paying for? Who will the program truly benefit? Do you have the right skills?

Combining volunteerism with travel is one of our favorite ways to explore the globe, though it’s absolutely vital to choose a project which makes a genuine difference to the community and society as a whole. While investing in your personal development and growth as well.

When structured correctly, volunteer placements can be mutually beneficial to both the volunteer and the local community, though how can we as travelers know which programs are responsible and which are not? What are the signs of an ethical volunteer program?

As a leader in the field of ethical volunteering, we reached out to Mark Horoszowski from Moving Worlds about tips for first time prospective international volunteers, and the things every international volunteer needs to know before they go.

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Volunteer Latin America on the Importance of Ethical Volunteering

Posted by on 11:34 pm in Blog, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Volunteer Travel, Writers | 34 comments

Volunteer Latin America on the Importance of Ethical Volunteering

Combining volunteerism with travel is one of our favorite ways to explore the globe, though it’s absolutely vital to choose a project which makes a genuine difference to the community and society as a whole.

Realizing that this is now an industry which can turn a profit, some companies and organizations are ignoring the long-term effects of volunteering on host communities, and as such there is now a lot of cynicism about those who want to become an international volunteer to “do good”.

We speak to Stephen Knight today about volunteering in Latin America, and the importance of ethical volunteerism.

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Why Volunteering Abroad Will Change You

Posted by on 3:10 pm in Blog, Volunteer Travel | 26 comments

Why Volunteering Abroad Will Change You

I’ve long since been an advocate that volunteering abroad is one of the best ways to travel – not only are there a large number of placement opportunities which enable volunteers to travel and live overseas for free, but it genuinely does shape you as a person. And it’s not a cliché to say so.

You would think volunteering abroad should be about the desire to help others and the want to contribute to creating a better world, however I believe these are both merely byproducts of the personal development which takes center stage as the most beneficial aspect of volunteerism.

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